Putin says Russia will achieve it's ‘noble’ aims in Ukraine war.

Russia’s president says troops will act ‘calmly’ to ‘fulfil goals’ in Ukraine.

President Vladimir Putin has pledged Russia would triumph in all of its “noble” war aims in Ukraine, using his first public comments on the conflict in a week to goad the West for failing to bring Moscow to heel with economic sanctions. 

Addressing the war in public for the first time since Russian forces retreated from northern Ukraine after they were halted at the gates of Kyiv, Putin said the situation in Ukraine was a tragedy.

However, Russia had no choice but to fight, he said, because it had to defend the Russian speakers of eastern Ukraine and prevent its former Soviet neighbour from becoming an anti-Russian springboard for Moscow’s enemies. 

“Our task is to fulfil and achieve all the goals set, minimising losses. And we will act rhythmically, calmly, according to the plan originally proposed by the General Staff,” Putin said during a news conference. 

Putin said. “There is no doubt that the goals will be achieved.”“That blitzkrieg on which our foes were counting on did not work,” Putin said of the West’s crippling sanctions imposed after Putin ordered a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. “We don’t intend to be isolated,” Putin said. “It is impossible to severely isolate anyone in the modern world – especially such a vast country as Russia.” 

Putin said Ukraine and Russia are essentially one people, and has cast the war as an inevitable confrontation with the United States, which he said was threatening Russia by meddling in its back yard.

The Russian president dismissed claims Moscow’s army was struggling against the Ukrainian resistance and was forced to withdraw from around major cities, including the capital Kyiv. 

“Our actions in certain regions of Ukraine were just related to containing [enemy] forces, destroying military infrastructure, creating conditions for a more active operation in Donbas,” Putin said referring to a region in eastern Ukraine, parts of which are controlled by pro-Russia separatists.

Asked about reports of the discovery of hundreds of dead bodies of civilians in the town of Bucha outside Kyiv after the withdrawal of Moscow’s troops, Putin dismissed them as “fake”. 

Putin reaffirms that Russia’s military aims to protect people in rebel-controlled areas of eastern Ukraine and ‘ensure Russian security’.